In the Loop: Concerns about parking remain as Whitworth continues its expansion

by the Whitworthian Editorial Board

As Whitworth University continues to expand, with the recent completion of the Bill Robinson Science Building and Hixson Union Building expansion, the issue of convenient parking in high-traffic areas on campus is becoming increasingly apparent. Not only is the university growing larger, but adding a new rec center behind Westminster will likely add to the problem.

At this time there is enough parking for cars on campus; however, that parking is not evenly distributed. Commuters often have trouble finding parking near their class locations, and designated areas for visitor parking are not well-known.

With popular areas sharing the same parking lot, there seems to be a problem with accommodation — if students only need to go to the HUB, yet can’t find parking, is it really fair for them to have to park as far as the Baldwin-Jenkins parking lot? This poses a problem for commuters as the campus continues to expand.

Although the campus is small in size in comparison to other universities, making a quick stop at buildings isn’t an easy task because there aren’t enough parking spots in the areas that are used most, as the majority of buildings on campus share parking lots that are quickly filled up.

With the recent HUB expansion, three 10-minute parking spots were taken away, leaving those quick stops at the HUB inconvenient, since parking spots in the main lot are a rarity.

Parking is already a substantial problem on campus; however, it seems apparent that the problem could potentially increase over time.

Whitworth’s 2021 plan includes a vision to move parking outside of the pedestrian campus parameters. Although this plan is safer for those who walk across campus, this editorial board questions if there will be enough parking spots, and if those spots will be convenient in terms of location.

The idea of moving parking off campus is good in theory because it will help minimize the dangers of possible car-versus-pedestrian collisions; however, parking lots outside the campus invite car theft, since few people will be around those areas. These parking lots will also take away the prospect of having convenient parking.

This board believes that there should be more organization in terms of parking. Instead of a free-for-all parking system, designated spots should be given based on place of residence. Those who live on campus should be assigned specific places to park, leaving clearly-marked spaces for commuters.

There should also be commuter-only parking since they are the ones who are most affected by the difficult parking situations.

Visitor parking should also be clearly marked and accessible to free up the spaces used at different points in the day. With an organized system, the parking spots that Whitworth does have would be utilized effectively and commuters would not be forced to park long distances from their destination.

For future buildings, Whitworth could even consider copying the style of Gonzaga University’s Kennedy dorm by constructing a parking garage underneath the building, which would eliminate the need for dorm parking. There are many options for ways to improve this situation.

Instead of focusing simply on constructing more buildings, this board believes that it is essential to look at the bigger picture, which includes adequate parking for all of the new construction.

With new buildings should come more parking spaces and an efficient way for students to utilize them.

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